May 25, 2016

Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) calls on committee opposing marijuana-related ballot measure to return $10,000 contribution from Arizona Wine and Spirits Association

PHOENIX — The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), the committee backing an initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona that is expected to appear on the November ballot, has called on leaders of the committee opposing the measure to return a contribution from the alcohol industry.

According to a report published earlier this week by the Phoenix New Times, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) received a donation of $10,000 last month from the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association, a trade group representing various alcohol wholesalers.

The leaders of ARDP, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, and radio host Seth Leibsohn have repeatedly argued that marijuana needs to remain illegal because it is too dangerous to regulate for adult use. Yet, by every objective measure, marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol. See for details.

“Using alcohol money to fund their campaign to maintain marijuana prohibition is grossly hypocritical,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “They want to continue punishing adults for using marijuana, but they have no problem accepting five-figure donations from purveyors of a far more harmful substance.

“Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy should return this contribution immediately,” he said. “If they don't, they should just acknowledge that their campaign has nothing to do with promoting public health and is merely based on anti-marijuana prejudice.”

CRMLA is nearing completion of the signature drive to qualify its measure for the November ballot. The campaign needs approximately 150,000 valid signatures and has more than 215,000 gross signatures on hand.

“As we finish the signature drive and launch the final stage of the campaign, we anticipate that our opponents will be ramping up their efforts,” Holyoak added. “As they do, we will be watching closely to see whether they continue to receive support from the alcohol industry or from companies that promote the use of alcohol.

“Our campaign is not opposed to alcohol, but we are opposed to hypocrisy,” he said. “It is simply inappropriate and objectionable for those who profit from the sale of alcohol to use those profits to prohibit adults from using a less harmful substance.”